“The Effort Never Stops”
9 minute read
It sounded like the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard.
Maybe I was just being harsh, or maybe I was being unfair, and so it felt only right to take a step back and take a moment to really process the comment that had just been made to me. I cradled my chin between my thumb and forefinger in one of those philosophical poses, and then I wrinkled my brow and let out a thoughtful little hmmm.
No, it’s no good. I’d given it a chance and now I really had no choice but to conclude that it really was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard, and that quite frankly, this guy was a dick.
The comment from Mr Dick had come about as a result of a conversation we were having about dating and relationships and the effort that we make when it comes to the aforementioned dating and relationships. You know the kind of things I’m talking about; trying new things, dressing to impress, becoming our very best selves.
But his response was simple. And clearly, so was he.
“What do I need to make the effort for? I have a girlfriend.”
I gave him the opportunity to justify this comment by prompting him, suggesting that maybe he was just referring to that initial effort we take to meet somebody. Yes, that had to be it.
“No I didn’t mean the initial effort that we take to meet somebody Elliot. What I mean is; why do I need to keep making the effort? I have a girlfriend.”
I hung my head, my shoulders slumped, and then I let out a deep sigh. It was no good. He was a lost cause.
But let’s now move on from Mr Dick. He is not worth my time, and he is most certainly not worth yours.
There is a pretty standard dating and relationship process that is perceived to be the norm. You meet somebody, there is the initial attraction, and that attraction then leads to dating. One date leads to a second, a second then leads to a third, and if things continue to go well and you’re both looking for the same things then that initial dating may progress into a relationship.
Then there are the ‘first-time’ milestones that help lay the foundations for the future; the first time you cook for each other, the first time you have sex, the first time you go away for the weekend, and the first time you accidentally fart in front of them. Each milestone has the potential for disaster (particularly the fart), but if you make it beyond all these monumental occasions then you’ll find that a solid base has been created upon which to build your new relationship.
During the initial ‘honeymoon phase’ as it is so commonly known, we go full steam ahead and go out of our way to impress our partners. Oftentimes we only show our best sides and we ‘hide the crazy’ for as long as we possibly can, but once we reach a certain level of comfort, the veil is dropped and we begin to show our vulnerability and even our uglier sides.
If those initial foundations that we laid are strong enough, and if the good outweighs the bad, then we have a very good chance of surviving this next stage and the foundations can become stronger still.
But once we’ve moved beyond the initial attraction, the initial excitement, and we’ve experienced the highs and the lows, and the good and the bad, what’s then left is a territory of familiarity that has the risk of becoming the humdrum and the mundane.
And it is this stage at which this article is aimed.
To approach dating with the belief that the effort comes to an end once you have achieved a comfortable relationship status could be the very reason why so many relationships eventually come to an end. In many ways, the hardest work actually begins at this stage.
It’s easy to make the initial effort when you’re dating because we automatically believe it’s what’s necessary if we’re ever going to have somebody fall in love with us. We go to the gym and get in shape, we buy new clothes and groom ourselves well, we try new things and go new places, and we try to live a fulfilling life which in turn makes us more attractive and altogether more appealing. This is a good thing.
But why do so many of us stop all of this once we’ve actually won the heart of a lady? And what message does it put across if we suddenly stop with the effort?
Think about it.
Maybe it’s because you feel happy and comfortable and that you can just relax, but no matter how you feel inside the message that this puts across is that you cared more about impressing a stranger than you do about impressing the lady that is now by your side.
Where is the logic in only putting in our best efforts while we’re single men on the dating scene? While it is a wonderful feeling to reach a place of comfort and to achieve a sense of companionship, we cannot perceive this to be the green light that, metaphorically speaking, allows us to sit back and put our feet up.
The effort can never stop.
You have to work at keeping the excitement there, you need to always make her feel special, and you must continue to surprise her. And when I talk about surprising her I’m not just talking about gifts, or weekends away, or greeting her naked at your front door wearing nothing but a sock over your Johnson; I’m also talking about surprising her in the efforts you continue to make with yourself.
While it is important for your lady to know that she is a centrepiece of importance in your life, it is also vital to her that you remain your own man, that you don’t lose sight of who you are, and that she is not the glue that holds your world together. While this may appear wonderfully romantic in the movies, the truth is that it’s a burden to anybody to feel as though their partner cannot function without them. It places them upon the proverbial pedestal.
A lot of guys fail in this area by giving too much. They lose sight of who they are; they bend, they give, and they put their partners first, all of the time. In their own mind they’re doing everything right, but in reality this is not healthy.
To take this approach will only make you come across as needy, and by acting needy you will lose the masculine energy that your partner craves from you. A man needs to have a sense of purpose and direction in his life, but this purpose and direction cannot purely be about his lady.
She needs to feel your strength, your confidence, and your presence. But it is critical to remember that she fell in love with you for who you are, not for who you could be.
Don’t lose yourself.
Ironically, by giving too much and by always putting her first, you have more chance of losing her in the long run.
There is a time and a place for putting your partner first. It is not all of the time. Think about it; have you ever been with somebody where every decision they made and every action they took was all about putting you first? Have you ever felt as though they were sacrificing their own wants and needs just to make you happy? If so, did you really like that and did you respect them for it? If the answer to that is yes, then what does that say about you?
Like attracts like, and this is why you have to work on yourself before getting into a relationship. If you’re needy and insecure then there is a very strong chance that the type of partner you attract will be needy and insecure too. But if you become a strong and self-assured man, then a strong and self-assured woman will totally dig these traits and won’t feel threatened by that. And nor will you be of her.
The right balance needs to be found between where you concentrate your efforts. If you have your own purpose and sense of direction, then so too will your lady. You can be each other’s advocate, and you can be their biggest supporter.
The right relationship will fill you both with energy. It won’t drain you.
And this isn’t to say that you won’t have disagreements or face tough times together, because wherever there are emotions there will always be difficulties. But once again, making the effort also applies in these most difficult of times. It is that effort that will pull you both through.
Let’s be honest, the world of dating is a pain in the arse. Each date you go on and every woman you meet is like taking steps across a minefield. If you’re lucky enough you may make it through unscathed, but the further you walk the more likely you are to lose a limb or two. At the very least you’ll experience a few minor flesh wounds and a mild case of tinnitus.
I know this sounds extreme, but once again I reiterate the point; dating is a complete and utter ball-ache. If I were offered the opportunity to either (a) start dating again, or (b) take a swift kick in the nuts by a man with a very heavy leg and an abnormally large shoe size, then personally I’d opt for the latter. Pain is only temporary after all.
But the effort you had to make at that initial stage only felt like hard work because you had no idea whether or not it would ever pay off.
For those of you that have been through the process of dating or are still going through the process of dating, how many times have you come home and said to yourself…
“Well that was a total waste of time. I wish I’d just stayed home and sat on my sofa in my underpants playing videogames!”
I know I have, and I often think of how many trophies I could have earned on Grand Theft Auto 5 had I not been out listening to somebody else ramble on about the merits of reality TV shows. Sorry sweetheart, you lost me at Geordie Shore.
The world of dating can be soul-destroying, but if you stay true to what you’re looking for and keep on taking those steps forward, then eventually you just may make it to the other side where your special lady awaits you.
But the difference in making the effort after the dating process is finally behind you is that the hard work actually becomes easy. And that’s because once you have that special lady in your life, the effort will be appreciated and the simplest of gestures won’t go unnoticed. It will pay off.
But what happens if ever you find yourself in a position where your partner no longer seems to appreciate you? You may need to ask yourself some difficult questions here.
Why do they not appreciate you?
Did you let it get that way?
Did you let the romance go?
Did you take away the mystery?
Did you stop making the effort?
Maybe it’s not down to you at all, but looking inward and asking yourself these questions is a good place to start.
Yes, the dynamic of a relationship will change over time, but people who just let the relationship slip away will always use this as a convenient excuse. They say that romance doesn’t last forever and that this is just the way it is, and blah blah blah blah blah!
These excuses are bullshit.
I compare this to people who say that once you reach a certain age your body doesn’t recover as quickly and so it’s pointless to continue exercising, but I know people in their fifties and sixties who are still in great shape. And if you stay in shape, you never have to get in shape; and thus, if you consistently maintain and nurture your relationship, you’ll never have to rescue that either.
Admittedly there may be circumstances whereby you have every right to question whether you’re with the right person and the relationship may even come to an end, but as long as you can walk away knowing that you made every reasonable effort, then you can hold your head high and move onto bigger and better things.
But this is absolute worst case and I only include this paragraph to allow for the fact that some relationships just aren’t meant to be. Nobody likes going around and around in unfulfilling circles, and nobody wants to be banging their head against a brick wall. The effort needs to go both ways, and although the effort may come from one side more than the other at times, ultimately it has to balance out as a 50/50 endeavour. We’ll cover this in a separate article in the near future.
I absolutely believe in keeping your lady on her toes, but don’t misunderstand what this means.
Many guys interpret this as ‘treat them mean, keep them keen’, but that’s not really conducive to a healthy relationship. It may work to an extent in the dating stage, but it’s a different world once you’re truly with somebody.
Keeping your partner on their toes is not about treating them mean. Nobody wants to be with an arsehole, so don’t be an areshole; but they also don’t want to be with a pushover. There is a middle ground.
While it is true that the nice guy usually comes last, the good guy will always come first. There is a huge difference between the two. Once again, a separate article on this will appear in the future.
Nobody wants to be made to feel insecure. Nobody wants to feel threatened in a relationship. But what your lady does want is to be kept intrigued and to be left wondering what you’ll do next. It’s exciting; and this excitement is nurturing, not threatening. You can keep your lady on her toes by being a little unpredictable and by standing your ground, but with a good heart and integrity at the very centre of it all.
Don’t ever stop trying. Don’t ever stop making your lady feel loved. Don’t ever stop making her feel desired. Don’t ever stop making her feel secure. Don’t ever stop surprising her. Don’t ever stop making her feel beautiful. Don’t ever stop making her feel like a woman.
Don’t ever stop making the effort.
You may say that you’ve been together for years, that things change, and that all that stuff stops. But ask yourself, would you really want to feel like your lady no longer finds you attractive? Keep making that effort for each other.
When was the last time that you just walked up behind her and wrapped your arms around her waist, and then pulled her into you, kissed her neck, and told her how special she is?
Embrace the effort, for it means you become better and it means your lady will continue to be won over by the man that she fell for in the first place.
Aim to make her fall in love with you over and over again.
I’m going to leave you with one final thought.
The next time your partner is sat talking to her friends over dinner and you come up in conversation, do you want her heart to swell with pride and for a smile to spread across her face? Or do you want her heart to sink and for her face to be full of disappointment?
Don’t ever stop.
Did this article resonate with you and do you know of anybody that could benefit from reading it? If so then please do feel free to share this article wherever you can.
Do you have any thoughts or opinions on this subject? How do you continue to make the effort in your own relationship? Do you have any advice of your own to share with the readers? Or do you have any questions of your own to ask that either myself or my readers can share an opinion on? Then please feel free to leave a comment below and we’ll begin a conversation.
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